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Mina Chow, FAIA

Adjunct Professor

 

B.A. in Architecture, University of California, Berkeley M.Arch, Harvard University


Mina Chow FAIA NCARB is an award-winning interdisciplinary filmmaker, licensed architect, Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Architecture where she currently teaches design and professional practice, and a Faculty Fellow at USC Annenberg Center on Public Diplomacy. She is the founder of multimedia firm mc² SPACES which creates original films about the fundamental nature of design. Through her filmmaking, public scholarship, and interdisciplinary teaching, Mina Chow communicates important underlying relationships between design and culture. She has written on identity and cultural issues between media and architecture including for The Architect’s Newspaper’s “Suspended in a Spectacle: Public Diplomacy at Expo 2020 Dubai,” With the Media Burning and a Virus Raging, Should We Look to Architecture?” and Delinquent in Dubai: We Need to Tell America’s Best Story in the Middle East.  

 

In 2021, she was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects for outstanding public service and documentary filmmaking.  Since 2018, she's served as a design history consultant for the U.S. Department of State Expo Unit. Her 2022 PBS documentary “FACE OF A NATION: What Happened to the World’s Fair?” continues its impact including recent citation in Smithsonian Magazine and international screenings on Emirate Airlines ICE, and at the 2022 International Communications (ICA) Conference in Paris.  The film connects the erosion of the country’s international image to the decline of U.S. participation at overseas World Expos. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of State Expo Unit website.

 

She has directed and produced films for the American Institute of Architects, and the University of Southern California. In 2014, she directed USC School of Architecture's "100 Years of Architecture" short film. In 2011, she also created a web pilot BRAVE NEW WORLD for the LA Mayor’s office about innovative architecture for the city of Los Angeles. Select awards include an Individual Grant for the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the California Architectural Foundation, the USC Architectural Guild, USC US-China Institute, and the USC Ambassador's Fund. She was also on the award-winning U.S. Pavilion team "Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good" at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.

 


Related Links: faceofanationmovie.com

 
Currently Teaching
  • 205aL
    Building Science I
    Building Science I

    This course will help the student comprehend the nature of order in our surroundings, and to create an appreciation and understanding of how and why these systems are established. Projects will focus on the intrinsic properties of materials applied in structural and conceptual expression. The primary objective is to expose students to current issues related to design in architecture, and to teach the intrinsic nature of architecture developed through principles based on the design and construction process.


    This first course introduces fundamental design concepts, current issues of influence, and value systems to elevate design and critical thinking skills of undergraduate engineering students. Students will explore basic principles of 2 and 3 dimensional compositions though a series of design exercises, discussions, and critiques; focusing on the intrinsic properties of materials applied in structural and conceptual expression. Students will be challenged to contend with actual dynamic forces, haptic and contextual dimensions on life-size physical and material structures on real-world sites. Emphasis is placed on design as a creative, conceptually driven, iterative process. Attention is given to theories of context, unity, order, proportion, shape, balance, form, and space as they apply to abstract composition and structural design. Expression of ideas and values present in physical form are explored through observation, analysis, transformation, and synthesis. Students develop and document projects using a variety of means, including model making, RHINO, ADOBE Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign and/or OTHER software programs, sketching, drawing, and photography. Project craft and execution (IRL or digitally) are emphasized.

     
  • 205bL
    Building Science I
    Building Science I

    This is the second semester for a foundation studio course in an interdisciplinary program with the School of Engineering that first was established in the 1970’s. This three-year interdisciplinary program is based in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Studies. This program will familiarize the student with architecture, landscape architecture, planning, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering and the related issues that contribute to the built environment for our society. It introduces the process of coordinating all of these aspects for the engineering student. 


    This course will continue to develop the student’s comprehension on the nature of contextual and organizational principles that order our surroundings, and to create an appreciation and understanding of how and why these systems are established. The objective is to expose the student to current issues related to design in architecture, and to teach the intrinsic nature of architecture developed through principles based on the design & construction process. These topics are indications of the various value systems that come into play in the contemporary field of architecture. Understanding this and becoming aware that design is a synthetic process that is a balance of many concerns is a major objective of the course.


    This course will explore contextual research and analysis introduced in ARCH 205aL in more depth, and architectural program and space planning for a modest, but spatially complex building within an urban context. These projects will continue to emphasize the design process from the initial design concept to the final building proposition. Though precedent studies, design exercises, lectures, and critiques; emphasis is placed on design as a creative, conceptually driven, iterative process; all working within the defined limits of project budgets and schedules.


    Prerequisite: ARCH 205aL

     
  • 525
    Professional Practice Pre-Design, Project and Office Administration
    Professional Practice Pre-Design, Project and Office Administration

    Prerequisite(s): ARCH 302bL


    Design methodology, typology programming, site analysis, budget formulation and pro-forma procedures. Office management, emphasizing professional service and professional ethics as well as project management focusing on the architect’s responsibilities during construction.

     
 
Related News
02/20/24
Mina Chow FAIA, NCARB has won a 2024 Arnold W. Brunner Grant for Architectural Research from the Center for Architecture for her experimental new documentary, "Haunted ...
03/10/21
Three USC Architecture faculty and alumni have joined the 2021 AIA College of Fellows. One of the highest honors that the AIA awards, Fellowship celebrates Architect Members with ...
06/01/20
USC Architecture is proud to announce the recipients of its 2020 Research in Architecture, Faculty Research Grant and Student Research Grant programs. A total of nearly $155,000 ...
 
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